What is collaboration?

While every workplace is different, most of us will work closely with others at one time or another during our professional lives, and an essential part of that is the ability to collaborate. In a collaborative environment, each team member is empowered to contribute with their expertise, communication is clear and effective and, ideally, shared goals are regularly achieved.

Being a good collaborator is a skill that helps you grow into a more well-rounded professional. It both positively influences other skillsets, like problem-solving and innovation, and is in turn positively influenced by building skills like communication or self-management. And, like all soft skills, it’s not just an innate quality but something you can learn and refine.

Why is collaboration important in the workplace?

With an increasing level of specialisation in workplaces, it is crucial that team members contribute with their specific skillsets to larger projects. With a diversity of knowledge and perspectives also comes the ability to find more innovative and creative solutions – where you might be stumped, someone with different life and work experiences might have just the right idea to resolve the issue.

Working collaboratively also increases motivation and can help you get more satisfaction out of your work. A Stanford study found that people who feel that they are part of a team persist 64% longer at a task and feel less fatigued and more engrossed by it than those working on their own.

Collaboration also helps you build better relationships with co-workers and acquire knowledge and skills from them. With the Harvard Business Review reporting that 55% of employees turn to their peers at work to learn a new skill, it’s evident that both you and your colleagues can only profit from collaborating.

You may have always hated group projects at school, but collaboration and teamwork in the workplace is so much more than just dividing up tasks and hoping everyone will pull their weight.

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